Business relationships are just like that of any other relationship, they need to be continuously worked at, you should never take them for granted and you should treat it with the respect it deserves. However, the reality is some relationships can be very toxic.  You might be showing the signs and not even realising it. Are you finding the minute you see an email has arrived from them you’re cringing or feeling overwhelmed? 

In being toxic, they can cause you stress, emotional and physical exhaustion, bouts of feeling overwhelmed or self-doubting, hurt (lots of it), anxiety and worst can leave you with an experience you wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Some signs of what toxic relationships can be;

Scenario #1:

The business colleague that uses you for their gain, announces themselves to be all things YOU, when in fact they’re all things THEM. You give, give, give, and they take, take, take.

Scenario #2:

You’re working with someone who is constantly taking your ideas and presenting as theirs.

Scenario #3:

You find yourself starting to think you’re not good enough because they have been continuously telling you so, or they’re telling you your ideas are not that great and finding ways to put you down. You may even find you’re suddenly making errors you wouldn’t normally make.

Scenario #4:

Working with someone who’s abusive and belittling you in their manner when speaking and emailing you.

Scenario #5:

They simply start saying unprofessional things behind your back.

Scenario #6:

They constantly demanded things from you and no matter what you deliver, they criticise you constantly. They never accept their part in any situation, the blame is constantly thrown your way. 


Sound familiar? 


It’s definitely not one of life’s finer moments!


You are a valuable person and you don’t deserve to be treated otherwise.

Sometime these people don’t even realise what they’re doing, and their behaviour is at times a result of they way they’re being treated in their own life. Be mindful of this fact. If you are comfortable and the opportunity presents itself, talk to them. Tell them how they treat you and how it makes you feel.


It’s so important to remember when dealing with these toxic people, that you main your professionalism no matter what they try to throw at you.

Some of these steps are:

  1. Politely and quietly distance yourself from them.
  2. Don’t be so willing to ‘share’ all your ideas.
  3. Be guarded on what information you’re telling them.
  4. Maintain your professionalism at all times, and don’t let them allow you to compromise it.
  5. Stand strong. Remember this fact, they need you…otherwise they wouldn’t be carrying on like this in the first place.
  6. Don’t be so readily available for them. Make them book a time with you or limit the times you spend responding to their emails.
  7. Be strategic in what you are willing to give and do.
  8. Pre-plan your responses. Map out in your head a set NO responses for the various requests they frequently seek from you.
  9. Be honest with yourself, don’t keep convincing yourself you have to put up with this.
  10. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and encourage you, you have no room for anyone else.


Don’t be hard on yourself if you have experienced this or currently are experiencing this. We all do at some point, and more often than not, out generous natural can be an attraction to these types of people.

You want to learn from your experience, put practices into place to prevent it happening again (doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t happen again, as every person is different) and always be true to yourself and your values.

When you are working with the right people, who are aligned to you, you will find your relationship flourishes.